It’s been a while since Lahni voiced her opinion on this blog but today I, Eva, feel the need to do so on her behalf since she feels too sad for words about what’s been happening in the past week. Violent events in Japan this week have given me the impetus to say a few things. 250 dolphins were captured, pods ripped apart for captive selection; 51 were taken including an albino baby kidnapped from its mother; then, after starving for 4 days, 42 were slaughtered and the rest driven back out to sea without their families intact. Most of them juveniles…with an uncertain future ahead. You probably heard about it in the news somewhere, since it made major rounds on all the big news channels on our TVs. The Japanese response included two words that have been used for far too long as an excuse to abuse people and animals in the most awful of ways…namely ‘Tradition’ and ‘Culture’.
First of all, let’s see what they actually mean by that. I found this…interesting!
“Word History for tradition: The words tradition and treason both come from the same Latin source. The Latin word traditio meant “teaching” or “tradition.” These senses developed from its basic meaning, which was “the act of handing something over.” Tradition is maintained by passing information from one generation to another. One kind of treason is committed when someone who has been entrusted with secret information passes it on to someone else. The word tradition was borrowed directly from the Latin traditio. Treason, on the other hand, came to us through early French, where traditio had changed into the word traisun.”
“… a high level of taste and enlightenment as a result of extensive intellectual training and exposure to the arts…
Related Words education, erudition, learning, literacy, scholarship; sophistication, urbanity; breeding, gentility, manners; class, elegance, grace, taste; civility, courtesy, politeness
Near Antonyms ignorance, illiteracy; parochialism, provincialism, unsophistication; boorishness,… coarseness, crudeness, vulgarity
a. The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.
b. These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population.
A bunch of bacteria huddled together in a petri dish is a culture, since they have the same agenda to keep growing in the same exact way without changing, they duplicate themselves again and again by handing over the same information to the next cell. And so it goes with any behaviour that a people agree on being acceptable and desirable. It’s nothing more than an agreement and a set of habits that get repeated long enough that everyone who follows assumes its normal.
The question we have to ask ourselves if we want to keep evolving and growing past certain constraints, is what kind of results are we getting from the traditions and cultures of my people? Is it helping further us as humans and as fellow spirits on this earth or isn’t it? Is our behaviour hurting anyone or anything? What are we leaving for the next generation? How is what I’m doing affecting the natural world and it’s inhabitants? How much pain are we inflicting with our culture and traditions? Are we teaching our children to inflict more pain?
Tradition and culture should never be an excuse to be violent and cruel in any way and if it is, it’s time to grow and do something different!
Many old established cultures have been extremely violent in their traditions but humans grew out of those traditions because they woke up to the reality of what they did and stopped doing it, developing new traditions and cultures more in tune with their evolution.
What is happening to dolphins, whales and many other animals in Japan and other cultures around the globe has nothing to do with tradition and culture, it has everything to do with a loss of culture and a distortion of traditions. There is nothing remotely desirable or sophisticated about any of their behaviour in this case.
So, in 2014, to still use Tradition and Culture as a reason to keep doing nasty things is unacceptable.
Well written. It seems so obvious to some of us, but clearly not yet to all. I love the line bacteria in the petri dish. Beautiful analogy.